KUALA LUMPUR, May 1 — The National Circular Economy Council (NCEC) has agreed to a legislative transformation to ensure the circular economy for solid waste management can operate smoothly nationwide.

In a statement today, the Housing and Local Government Ministry (KPKT) pointed out that the transformation is necessary because the existing legislation is insufficient to implement a holistic circular economy.

“Therefore, there is a need to conduct a study for the drafting of Circular Economy bill to develop a more specific and comprehensive act that covers the product lifecycle from production to post-consumer products that can be adopted by all states,” read the statement.

The inaugural meeting was held yesterday, chaired by Housing and Local Government Minister Nga Kor Ming and attended by representatives of relevant ministries, including state authorities, industry players and other stakeholders.

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According to KPKT, solid waste management in Malaysia is regulated by the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Act 2007 (Act 672) and the Local Government Act 1976 (Act 171).

NCEC also agreed to intensify efforts to boost the national recycling rate by empowering the role of local authorities and garnering support from the industry to accelerate the transition towards a circular economy, according to the statement.

It also decided that KPKT and the industry should join forces to study Material Flow Analysis in calculating the national recycling rate, starting with the plastic commodity sector before expanding to other commodities such as metal, paper, textile and so on to improve data collection and reporting methods for a more comprehensive depiction of circular economy performance in Malaysia.

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According to KPKT, NCEC acknowledges the need for informal workers and small and medium enterprises to spur recycling activities, with further research to be conducted in collaboration with the industry.

“The government will take note of the need for incentives to encourage the involvement and contribution of this sector to the country’s recycling industry. Strengthening the involvement of this group (informal workers) is expected to unlock new job opportunities and increase income for this target group,” it added.

NCEC also called on all parties to play a role in managing post-consumer products efficiently and effectively to ensure that solid waste management remains effective and sustainable through the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).

“EPR is a crucial mechanism to accelerate the comprehensive transition to a circular economy. In this regard, KPKT will engage with retailers and general merchandise companies soon to discuss proposals regarding the phasing out of single-use plastic bags,” it added. — Bernama